Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 18, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 18, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Former Muslim: U.S. Airways Acted Properly in Removing Imams
  • Iran Arrests Eight Leaders of House Church Movement
  • Christian Lawyer in China Convicted of ‘Inciting Subversion’
  • German Minister Wants Curbs on Religious Freedom

Former Muslim: U.S. Airways Acted Properly in Removing Imams

According to AgapePress, a terrorism expert and New York Times best-selling author says U.S. Airways was completely justified in removing six Muslim imams from a recent flight between Minneapolis and Phoenix. Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of the American Congress for Truth, recently published Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America. Gabriel shares her pleasure that U.S. Airways is defending its action in removing the suspicious imams from the flight after passengers became concerned about their behavior. "USAir has every right to do what they are doing," she states. "As a matter of fact, USAir just became my official airline carrier because of what they did with the imams." The captain of the airplane made the right decision, she says. "When you look at the behavior of the imams -- they took the seating configurations used by the 9/11 hijackers; they talked about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden; and they moved around the airplane -- I mean, they were asking for attention," says Gabriel. "So, of course, that's going to arouse the suspicion of the airline passengers, who alerted that crew and who alerted the captain." The former Muslim says it is outrageous that five of the six imams are seeking an out-of-court settlement with the airline. She says she is hopeful U.S. Airways will not buckle to political correctness.

Iran Arrests Eight Leaders of House Church Movement

Compass Direct News reports Iranian secret police began to raid and arrest leaders of the Islamic republic’s indigenous “Jesus Only” movement last Sunday (December 10), arriving unannounced in the early morning hours to search their homes in Tehran, Karaj, Rasht and Bandar-i Anzali. Over the past five days several members of the house church movement have been called in for a day or more of interrogations and then released. But eight remain under arrest, including one woman. According to one source, those arrested have been told they face 10 accusations, including evangelization activities and actions against the national security of Iran.

Christian Lawyer in China Convicted of ‘Inciting Subversion’

A Beijing court convicted Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng of “inciting subversion” on Tuesday (December 12) after he was said to have mysteriously entered a “guilty” plea, according to reports. Compass Direct News reports that advocacy group Human Rights in China and Asia News questioned the credibility of the guilty plea, as Gao’s family and attorney were not informed that he had been put on trial until the proceedings were over. The trial at Beijing’s No. 1 People’s Intermediate Court lasted less than a day.

German Minister Wants Curbs on Religious Freedom

The German federal Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries, has called for limitations on religious freedom, ASSIST News Service reports. “We should not place any behavior under the protection of this important basic right”, said the Social Democrat in a “Speech on Religious Policy” in Berlin, December 12. Zypries has no religious affiliation and was the only member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet who did not use the affirmation “So help me God” when she was sworn in. The 53-year-old politician is concerned that decisions taken by the German Supreme Court in matters of religion have resulted in “a kind of freedom for all sorts of behavior”. Even smoking cannabis could legally be regarded as a religious practice, said Zypries. She believes that religious freedom should be defined more precisely. Otherwise more and more citizens would try to excuse themselves from adherence to the general laws with reference to their religious freedom.